Visit our new website: worldnews.easybranches.com

Two Mother Nature Activists Freed From Jail in Cambodia

  • Wed, 14 Feb 2018 07:25

Two Cambodian environmental activists who had received one-year jail sentences, partly suspended, for charges arising from photographing the controversial practice of commercial sand dredging, were released from prison on Wednesday.

Activists Dim Kundy and Hun Vannak had been detained since Sept. 12, 2017, in Koh Kong province on charges of inciting others to “commit crimes” and violations of privacy.

The pair were taken into custody while taking photos of dredging operations along the Cambodian coast carried out by a firm linked to the ruling Cambodian People’s Party.

The activists' NGO, Mother Nature, formally disbanded days after the arrests, citing harassment and pressure on staff from Cambodian authorities.

Speaking to RFA’s Khmer Service following their release, Dim Kundy and Hun Vannak criticized the court’s actions against them and vowed to continue their work protecting Cambodia’s environment in spite of the risk of further arrests.

“Illegal sand dredging still continues, and sand continues to be exported,” Dim Kundy told RFA.

“We will continue to monitor these illegal activities in Koh Kong and across Cambodia, and we will continue to work against the destruction of natural resources,” he said, naming threats posed by deforestation, mining, and dam construction in Cambodia.

“There is no way we can avoid harassment by the authorities, and they can arrest us anytime they want. We have the support of our people to continue our work.”

“We believe in our work. We believe in our supporters,” added Hun Vannak. “We have noted that against all odds, the number of environmental activists [in Cambodia] is growing.”

“More and more people are aware of the environment,” he said.

Suspended sentences, fines

On Jan. 26, the Koh Kong Trial Court sentenced Dim Kundy and Hun Vannak to a year’s imprisonment and fines of 1 million riel (U.S. $ 250). But the court suspended or waived seven months, leaving them with five months in prison, with credit for time served since mid-September.

The activists’ families and supporters, who were present in court when the verdict was announced, rejected the sentences as unjust, but said with the men's release likely in two weeks, they were not contemplating an appeal.

Registered with Cambodian authorities in 2013, Mother Nature had worked over the years to protect Cambodia’s environment, exposing irregularities in Cambodia’s trade in dredged sand with foreign countries and helping villagers organize to protect their land.

Mother Nature founder Alejandro Gonzalez Davidson, who has been based in Spain since he was expelled from Cambodia in 2015, had predicted that the activists would not stand a chance in a court system under heavy influence from local tycoons and politicians.

Reported by RFA’s Khmer Service. Translated by Nareth Muong. Written in English by Richard Finney.

RFA Home

Tags


US Weekly

Related Stories

Asia in 3 minutes: Indonesia scolded for dog meat trade, Cambodia grilled for North Korean fare
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 21:14

Celebrities call on Indonesia to lose its taste for dog and cat meat Musicians, actors and television personalities this week urged Indonesian Preside...

Comment on Honda Finally Introduces a Street-Legal 450cc Dual Sport – Derived from Motocrosser! (Bike Reports) (News) by Random
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 20:43

Those seat heights are real when there’s no one sitting on the bike, climb on and they naturally go down, usually much more on soft suspensions ...

Australian cat-proof fence protects endangered species
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 20:11

The world's longest pest-proof fence will protect native animals in the Australian outback. BBC News - Asia

No country resorts to IVF more than Japan—or has less success
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 19:30

THE sterile façade of Kato Ladies Clinic gives little hint of the fecundity inside. Nestling among a plantation of high-rises in a business district ...

Parts believed to have fallen from Japan Airlines plane hit clinic and car: police
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 18:45

At least 10 components apparently fell from a Japan Airlines plane and hit a window of a clinic and a car in Kumamoto Prefecture on Thursday, local po...

Myanmar Military Officer Charged With Murder of Mon State Villager
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 18:17

A Myanmar army officer has been charged with killing an ethnic Mon villager during an investigation into a domestic dispute in southeastern Myanmar’...

Elderly Uyghur Woman Dies in Detention in Xinjiang ‘Political Re-Education Camp’
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 17:30

An elderly Uyghur woman has died from health complications after being incarcerated at a political “re-education camp” in Ili Kazakh (in Chinese, ...

New 1MDB Probe Risks Peeling Back Corruption Built Up Over Decades
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 16:13

Malaysia’s new government faces an awkward problem: Having renewed the investigation into 1MDB, it must now decide how far it should pursue companie...

Amar Singh: Cash seized from Pavilion Residences totalled RM114mil
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 15:21

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have revealed that the total amount of cash seized from Pavilion Residences as part of its investigations into 1MDB was RM114mil,...

Apple Wins $539 Million Jury Award From Samsung in iPhone Patent Battle
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 15:20

Samsung must pay Apple $ 539 million for infringing patents related to the iPhone’s design, a federal jury found Thursday. WSJ.com: What's News A...

Chinese property agents ‘punished for poor attitude’ by dancing outside in underwear
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 14:25

A video showing four men who were forced to dance on the street wearing only their underwear because of their poor performance at work has been widely...

Paul's latest postseason injury comes one win away from NBA Finals
  • Fri, 25 May 2018 14:25

Chris Paul overcame a slow start to put his team in position for a major postseason win -- only to end that win with another critical playoff injury. ...


News Categories